Meet the finalists

REFURBISHMENT & RESTORATION UNDER £10 M
All Finalists2020 Winners

Brian Cole

Willmott Dixon

Brian Cole’s enthusiasm, knowledge and attention to detail on a challenging refurbishment impressed the client. Rather than sticking to the spec and ploughing on, he solved problems creatively. He pulled overlooked items into the programme to mitigate operational delay for the user and made substantial savings by judicious reconditioning rather than replacement. The success of the relationship is clear from his appointment to fit out a further level of the complex, with negotiations under way for two more.

About the Project

DHSC Quarry House, Leeds

Fit-out and refurbishment of 65,000sqft of office space, completed in 111 weeks.

Client: Department for Health and Social Care

Contract: NEC 3

Value: £9.7m

In a government-occupied office complex so massive and imposing that the building is known locally as the Kremlin, Brian Cole had to understand the bureaucratic mindset of the client’s landlord in order to progress the refurbishment of plant, equipment and facilities long past their best-by date. Even getting a works order to unblock a sink required up to seven levels of authorisation on the landlord’s side.

Just getting materials into the building and waste out was a major operation. There was only one goods lift that could be used – and that was out of order 80% of the time during the first phase of the project. Refused permission by the landlord to take control of and refurbish the lift, Brian organised a specialist company to move material up and down the stairs out of hours and installed an external hoist as a secondary transport route in case the lift failed again. His introduction of a compactor skip to make optimal use of the limited space so impressed the client they bought the machine off him at the end of the project.

Brian’s client focus was exceptional. He pulled missed-out items such as stairwells and CCTV installation into the programme so the facility would be immediately operational on handover. Rather than replacing the raised access flooring, which was in decent condition, he realised substantial time and cost savings by resetting the floor pedestals and reconditioning the floor tiles, replacing only those that were damaged. To improve lifecycle costings he made sure all doors were hardwood.

His enthusiasm, knowledge and attention to detail on a challenging refurbishment impressed the client. The success of the relationship is clear from his appointment to fit out a further level of the complex, and negotiations are under way for two further storeys.